Guild Wars 2 is an upcoming MMORPG that wants gamers to rethink the way they look at MMOs. Guild Wars 2 takes place 250 years after the events of Guild Wars. This time elemental dragons have awoken, forcing the land of Tyria into chaos. In order to save their homes, all five races must work together.
The idea of a personal story is important to Guild Wars 2. When you play, you don't just choose a race and inherit the race's backstory. Instead you choose how your character will play. Before the game even starts, you're asked a series of survey questions, some have immediate effects on the game while others play out over time. This biography mode determines the way villagers will approach you and the way you interact with NPCs.
Guild Wars 2 is built heavily on the idea that gamers shouldn't be told what to do via mountains of text. You won't see scrolls of words in this game, instead you'll see your next quest before your eyes. Dynamic Events are in-game actions that happen in real time, in front of you. Instead of finding a text telling you of a Centaur attack, you'll actually see, and then be attacked by, Centaurs. Events in the game play out as you're playing, and it's up to you take action. To help with this, the main map has icons showing you where Dynamic Events may take place.
Dynamic Events don't just let you know what you should be doing. The way you deal with the actions around you determine the entire outcome of the game. For example, if you know an attack is coming, you can either let the village burn or try to repel the attack. If you choose the former, that village will burn down. So if you want to use its resources or find its side quests, you'll then have to work with the villagers to rebuild it.
These events are also immediate. The second you see a monster attack a group of NPCs is the second you can attack. These sequences encourage gamers to work together to help stop in-game disasters and chaos. Gamers aren't competing for XP either. As long as you participate in the event, you'll reap the rewards. This is yet another way Guild Wars 2 is different from other MMOs. The game's makers don’t want you to spend your time fighting other gamers, rather they want you to play with them.
During the live gameplay demo, I watched one of these events unfold. A group of pirates were attacking a village, and several homes were already burning. Working with other gamers from NCSoft, the characters were able to save the town. Taking action earns you karma, the game's in-game currency, which can be used to purchase items, and upgrades.
Team work is important, and this becomes apparent as your life bar is depleted. When your health bar runs out, your character doesn't die. He or she will fall to the ground. Once immobile, a new task bar will appear with several attacks, allowing you to still attack enemies while you're down. It will then be up to another player to revive you.
The GDC demo of Guild Wars 2 also offered up our first glimpse of the thief. The thief is the latest of the eight professions to be revealed. Every one of the five races can play as a thief, and some of his abilities include stealth, shadow step and stealing.
Everyone who plays the game will have a home instance that your character can call home. How you play the game, who you help, and the choices you make determine the buildings and inhabitants of your home. If you play your cards right, you can even have monuments in your honor built for you there. How’s that for humble?
Guild Wars 2 will enter a beta this year, and NCSoft says it will be released "when it's ready. "